Idaho Volkswagen customers paid more than $49 million in reimbursement and restitution
IDAHO FALLS — Volkswagen is paying Idaho big money for trying to get around emissions standards.
In October 2016, Volkswagen signed settlement agreements for circumventing emission standard with 43 states and the federal government. As part of the settlement, Volkswagen agreed to pay the State of Idaho $2.6 million, according to the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.
But that number hardly compares to the amount Volkswagen must pay to individual Idaho customers.
Idahoans purchased over 3,000 vehicles eligible to be included in the settlement. To date, 2,492 claims have been made totaling $49,148,753 in reimbursement and restitution. Idaho customers still have 1,317 claims needing to be processed. That’s an estimated $14,041,877 in additional payments.
“The restitution provisions in the settlement were designed to address the harm Volkswagen caused,” Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said. “These figures reflect the impact the company’s actions had on our state. There are more claims in the pipeline, so the numbers will only get larger.”
To fully understand where these numbers are coming from, they need to be broken down.
The payments to Idaho Volkswagen costumers are two-fold. First, Volkswagen must make an estimated $5,100 in cash payments to each eligible Idaho customer in restitution. Second, the company must either buy back, at original price or modify each eligible vehicle.
Dave Hernandez from Teton Volkswagen said the majority their customers have been pleased with the settlement program.
“Volkswagen was required to pay them the full value of their car when it was purchased in 2015 as well as the $5,100 in restitution,” Hernandez told EastIdahoNews.com. “So, in many cases, they received more than what they paid.”
He explained that some customers decided to keep their vehicles and benefit from the lower gas mileage. He said many of these customers plan to turn in their vehicles on the last day and still receive the amount they paid in 2015.
Of the nearly $50 million paid to Idaho customers to date, an approximate $12 million of that is restitution. Including Idaho, Volkswagen’s settlement agreement across 43 states totals at more than $10 billion.
This is all the result of a 2015 investigation which confirmed Volkswagen had installed “defeat device” software into hundreds of thousands of 2.0-liter and 3.0-liter diesel vehicles sold in the United States.
The software was intended fool emissions tests into showing the vehicles met air pollutant standards.
The investigation found Volkswagen attempting to hide the existence of the device and misrepresent their vehicles as environmentally friendly. In reality, those vehicles emitted oxides of nitrogen in amounts far exceeding what was allowed by law.
The 2.6 million paid to the State of Idaho is for Volkswagen’s violation of Idaho’s consumer protection laws and restitution for the pollutants their vehicles emitted.
Volkswagen’s settlement with the federal government requires them to pay $2.7 billion into a trust. That trust is to be used to support environmental protection programs throughout the country.
Idaho will be eligible to receive 16.2 million of that trust.
the settlement agreement goes until Dec. 2018. So, if you believe your vehicle may be eligible for the settlement program, you can find out by clicking here.